German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has suggested that should a new administration take over the White House in January 2021 there will be a chance that the US reverses its earlier decision to withdraw around 9,500 of its soldiers from military bases in Germany.
"During the election campaign, we heard from the Democrats that they aim to look into these plans again very thoroughly. [...] We'll have to see whether this means that the decision will be completely revoked or only adjusted in certain parts", the minister said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer went on to dismiss the idea of a European strategic autonomy, earlier pitched by French President Emmanuel Macron, arguing that the EU still needs both the US and the NATO alliance to ensure its security.
"The idea of a strategic autonomy of Europe goes too far if it nurtures the illusion that we could ensure Europe's security, stability and prosperity without NATO and the US", she stated.
The defence minister elaborated on the topic noting that it would take the EU decades in order to assemble the amount of conventional and strategic armaments, which NATO and the US currently provide for the safety of the continent.
While Kramp-Karrenbauer's hopes of returning the amount of US soldiers deployed in the country to around 25,000 are not without hope, they are not guaranteed either. Democrat Joe Biden promised to rebuild the trust between the US and its foreign allies, purportedly damaged by President Trump, if he becomes president. Biden is currently projected to win the Electoral College voting by most news networks, but his opponent, Donald Trump is challenging the election results in several states via a string of lawsuits over alleged voter fraud.
US Row With Berlin Over Defence Spending
Washington went forward with the redeployment of around 9,500 of its servicemen from military bases in Germany in July 2020, sending some of them closer to the EU's eastern borders, and others back home. The decision came amid discussions in the German Bundestag regarding the country's military spending and the need to reduce the foreign military presence, and amid Berlin's continuing refusal to ramp up defence spending to NATO's goal of 2% of a country's GDP.
The goal itself was originally developed as a voluntary one, but US President Donald Trump insisted on making it mandatory, reportedly threatening to withdraw the US from NATO otherwise. While most members of the alliance agreed to meet it, not all of them were ready to achieve it immediately, Germany among them. Trump repeatedly condemned Berlin's refusal to boost defence spending, arguing that the German government should spend its money on buying weapons instead of buying Russian gas.